The Giants have designated outfielder Lewis Brinson for assignment, Maria Guardado of MLB.com was among those to relay (twitter link). San Francisco also optioned righty Sean Hjelle to Triple-A Sacramento. The moves clear active roster space for reliever Jharel Cottonwho has reported to the team after being claimed off waivers a few days ago, and infielder Jason Vossler, who has been recalled. Brinson is out of minor league option years, so he had to stick on the MLB roster or be designated for assignment. The Giants 40-man roster tally dips to 39.
San Francisco just added Brinson a few weeks ago. With active rosters expanding by two players in September, the Giants acquired the former first-rounder from the Astros. Brinson had signed a minor league deal with Houston over the offseason and had a very good Triple-A showing, blasting 25 home runs with a .299/.356/.574 line through 364 plate appearances. While the Astros never called him to the major leagues, the Giants immediately selected his contract after trading for him.
Brinson has played in 16 games this month, tallying 39 plate appearances. While he’s picked up three home runs in that limited time, he’s drawn just a pair of walks while going down on strikes 14 times. Subpar strikeout and walk numbers have been common throughout his MLB career, as he’s walked at a 5% clip with a 28.4% strikeout percentage in parts of six big league seasons. Brinson’s aggressive approach and high swing-and-miss rates have contributed to a .198/.246/.328 line through 1150 career plate appearances.
That’s obviously not the production many had envisioned when Brinson was coming up through the minor league ranks. Long one of the sport’s top prospects, the righty-swinging outfielder was a key part of the deals that he sent Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee to Texas and Christian Yelich from Miami to the Brewers. He’s spent parts of four seasons with the Marlins but never consistently hit against big league pitching. Through parts of seven years in Triple-A, he owns a far more impressive .308/.373/.545 line.
San Francisco will place Brinson on waivers within the next few days. As a player with over four years of big league service, he’d have the right to refuse an outright assignment in favor of free agency if he goes unclaimed.